The Bills have a dynamic duo upfront manning their two defensive tackle positions. Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams are the anchors for the starting defensive line, but the two veterans behind them may prove to be just as important. While the starting defensive line has grabbed all of the headlines this offseason, it may be the depth behind them that proves to be just as valuable to this team.
Spencer Johnson and Dwan Edwards have a combined 17 years worth of experience coming off of the bench for Buffalo this season, and are two proven starters in this league. That kind of experience and talent coming off of the bench is rare to find in this league.
"I just think that there isn't too much we haven't seen, between me and Spencer (Johnson)," said Edwards. "We have been around a long time and seen a lot. I think that we know how to be professionals and come in and work hard and be smart football players. We know tendencies and our assignments and adjustments."
Depth is a critical aspect of football because of its physical nature, especially up front in the trenches. The added depth at defensive tackle for Buffalo may be flying under the radar to some, but it is not inside of the locker room.
"It is definitely important," Edwards said. "You really can't have too many good defensive linemen in this league. There is a possibility of injuries and things like that, so to have people with experience that can step right in there and not miss a beat is huge for a team."
"It's good, I think that is important to have not just early in the year, but especially late in the year," said Bills starting defensive tackle Kyle Williams. "I think if you can keep guys fresh and keep guys coming in and out, and keep sending waves and waves at them that is only going to help you."
Johnson and Edwards may not be in the starting lineup every week, but they both understand their role and importance to this defense.
"It's great. It's great to be a part of it," said Johnson. "Backing up guys like Kyle and Marcell it's no problem because we all rotate a lot. They get winded, we come in and we get opportunities to play. We all have a lot of chances to make plays."
"I think it is a situation where you have to be ready for anything," said Edwards. "You never know what is going to happen in this league, and when I do go in there I don't want there to be any drop-off. I want there to be the same production, and if we have that, then guys will be fresh at all times. That will not only help us late in games, but later into the season as well."
Depth along the defensive front is something that the Bills have not had in some time. Buffalo's new defensive coordinator, Dave Wannstedt, observed the team's lack of depth during his first season with the team last year and is hoping to take full advantage of the added depth he now has this season.
"And the guys that no one talks about, Spencer Johnson and Dwan Edwards, all of a sudden these guys are making plays," said Wannstedt. "So we have some decisions to make in a good way at that defensive line that I think a year ago at this time nobody would ever have suspected. The depth was not a factor and now it is."
Dwan Edwards was a member of some very good defenses during his time spent with the Baltimore Ravens organization. While he was a part of some very good defensive fronts there, he believes that this defensive line may top any other he has ever played with.
"I definitely think from a depth standpoint. We don't have a lot of holes," he said. "We have a lot of guys that can play. Between the first and second group, we have a lot of guys that have started games in the NFL. It is definitely comparable to the defensive lines that we had in Baltimore. We have great players at every position and guys that can come in and play a role, which makes everybody better."